Henning Larsen, Snøhetta, and Studio Gang were selected as finalists to design the new Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota. The teams were selected from 12 firms, and the final design will need to respond to the ecology of the Badlands and embrace the complexities of Theodore Roosevelt’s life.
Previously, Minneapolis-based JLG Architects created a conceptual proposal for the library, one of a handful of design ideas made for the project. Now, one of the three new teams will build upon the timeline established by the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation. “The board has been working incredibly hard to reach this milestone,” said Cathilea Robinett, chair of trustees, “We are on the cusp of seeing three brilliant designs for what the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library will be. The board looks forward to many productive conversations with the community of Medora, the leadership in Billings County, and people across North Dakota and the world.”
There are currently 13 Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives, which serve as the archives and museum for the legacy of each of the respective administrations. In addition, there are private Presidential Libraries and Museums throughout the U.S., including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and the Jefferson Library.
Michael Sørensen, a partner at Henning Larsen, said that: “We’re deeply honored to be part of this historic opportunity, and are looking forward to immersing ourselves in the majesty of the Badlands. This project could not be conceived anywhere else, it could not belong anywhere else. We’re standing on the shoulders of giants. Theodore Roosevelt was one to push up his sleeves and take on the job at hand – a legacy shared by generations of North Dakotans. We look forward to going there, working with the community, and being part of a historic design process to shape a historic future.”
Craig Dykers, founding partner of Snøhetta, noted that: “Theodore Roosevelt overcame many challenges in his life and translated his experiences into a deep appreciation for the value of our natural resources and the power of our landscapes. His conservation ambitions have even greater relevance today and we are so proud to be a part of fulfilling his vision. For the past 30 years, our design studio has carried these same principles of caring deeply and thinking boldly throughout our practice. All of us at Snøhetta look forward to offering our passion and expertise to make the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library a transformative and inspirational experience.”
Jeanne Gang, founder and principal architect at Studio Gang, reflected on her experiences in the Badlands as a child: “Studio Gang is driven by the desire to connect people with each other and their natural surroundings,” said Studio Gang Founding Principal Jeanne Gang, FAIA. “I have personally been inspired both by Teddy Roosevelt's pursuit of conservation, but also by the Badland's majestic landscape and ecology. I look forward to working with OLIN and our team to realize a Presidential Library that unfolds his story as a means to connect visitors deeply with nature and to foster a new generation of citizens and leaders.”
Designs will be made public on August 10 and the TRPLF is scheduled to hold their next board meeting in Medora, North Dakota, on August 17-18. Ken Vein, director of design + construction, is working with city officials in Medora and the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation to facilitate safe working sessions in Medora by each architectural and design team in June.